‘The Perpetual Curate’ is the first chronicle I’ve read that doesn’t focus truly around women. Even ‘Salem Chapel’ which was ostensibly about dissenting minister Arthur Vincent felt like it was actually all about the ladies. The perpetual curate in question – Frank Wentworth – has already made appearances in all the proceeding books, most notably ‘The Rector’ where as a very young man he shows himself to be the more able priest than the titular Rector who retires leaving him in undisputed if temporary possession of the field.
|Arthur Hughes The Long Engagement|
Wentworth is an excellent priest, decorously in love with the charming and capable Lucy Wodehouse, intent on good works and not without expectations. In the interests of the plot though Wentworth is also distressingly High church and convinced that his principles allow for no compromise. The living that’s earmarked for him is in the gift of his aunts – evangelically Low Church ladies who cannot reconcile their nephew’s love of lilies on the Easter alter with their vision of what a good preacher should be.
The appearance of his aunts is only the beginning of young Frank’s troubles. He’s also at odds with Mr Morgan for setting up a mission on the man’s very doorstep and then there’s young Rosa Elsworthy the newsagent’s distractingly pretty niece. In short a sea of troubles that threaten to separate Frank from any chance of happiness with Lucy.
|Hughes - April Love|